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Information and reference

We’ve taken out subscriptions to several online sources of information, from family history and product reviews to newspaper archives and world-renowned reference material.       

Online resources are free to use and can be accessed in our libraries without a password. Most resources can also be accessed outside of a library, using your library card number as a password.      

There are online resources that are only available in a library, on your own device using the library's wifi or on one of our free computers. These are:  

  • Ancestry 
  • Access to Research 
  • British Newspaper Archives 
  • Which? 
  • the John Johnson Collection.  

For help getting online or using the resources, please ask the staff at your local library. 

Art and literature 

Oxford Art Online 

Oxford Art has over 21,000 biographies, 6,000 images and 45,000 articles covering painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, textiles, jewellery, interior design and glass.  

Oxford Bibliographies Online 

Every article on Oxford Bibliographies is a respected guide written and reviewed by experts, covering Victorian, British and Irish literature.  

Businesses and consumer issues 


Kompass provides details on UK and international companies. A full service, including financial information, is available in our libraries, while a limited service is available from home. 


Search hundreds of current reports on goods and services with Which? Includes an archive dating back to 2005.  



The library edition of Ancestry, the UK’s largest family history site, with information including census records, military records and births, marriages and deaths.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 

The dictionary includes the life stories of over 60,000 men and women who shaped British history and culture worldwide, from the Roman times to the 21st century. 

The John Johnson Collection 

Held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the John Johnson Collection contains images of nearly 60,000 printed illustrations from the 18th to the early 20th century.  

Who Was Who 

When the subject of a Who's Who entry dies, the biography is transferred to the next volume of Who Was Who, with the date of death added. Entries range from 1897 to 2015. 

News archives 

British Newspaper Archive 

The British Newspaper Archive is a project to digitise up to 40 million pages from the British Library's vast collection of local newspapers from the 1700s. You can search articles and watch your results appear in an instant.   


NewsBank provides a comprehensive collection of articles from local, national and international newspapers, covering a wide range of topics and issues.  


Access to Research 

Access to Research is an extensive and growing database of publicly funded research papers and academic journals,  

Encyclopaedia Britannica 

The library edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica provides instant access to the world's most famous and authoritative source of information.  

Oxford English Dictionary 

The Oxford English Dictionary is widely held to be the world’s most authoritative and comprehensive record of the English language, tracing the evolution and use of more than 600,000 words. 

Oxford Reference Online 

A vast online reference library, Oxford Reference combines in-depth content from the acclaimed Oxford Companions series. 

Very Short Introductions 

Very Short Introductions is the perfect way to quickly get ahead in a new subject, combining facts, analysis, new ideas and enthusiasm to make often challenging topics highly readable. 

Who’s Who 

Who’s Who contains over 33,000 short biographies of noteworthy and influential people from all walks of life who have left their mark on British public life.  

Social issues 

Issues Online 

Find out facts and figures for school or college homework with Issues Online, which offers high-quality articles on today's social issues. 

Help with tests 


GoCitizen is for candidates preparing for the Life in the UK or British citizenship test. It includes an online version of the latest official study materials, plus hundreds of practice test questions in the same format as the official test. 

Theory Test Pro 

An online simulation of the UK driving theory test, Theory Test Pro contains current versions of the entire official test question bank, hazard perception video clips and an online version of the Highway Code. 


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